St. Louis, San Francisco & Tex. Ry. Co. v. Seale
Annotate this Case
229 U.S. 156 (1913)
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U.S. Supreme Court
St. Louis, San Francisco & Tex. Ry. Co. v. Seale, 229 U.S. 156 (1913)
St. Louis, San Francisco & Texas Railway Company v. Seale
Argued May 5, 1913
Decided May 26, 1913
229 U.S. 156
Where the federal Employers' Liability Act is applicable, the state statute on the same subject is excluded by reason of the supremacy of the former.
Where the Federal Employers' Liability Act applies, no one but the injured employee or, in case of his death, his personal representative can maintain the action.
Whether the federal or state statute is applicable depends upon whether the injuries of the employee were sustained while the company was engaged and the employee was employed in interstate commerce.
An employee whose duty is to take the numbers of, and seal up and label, cars, some of which are engaged in interstate, and some in intrastate, traffic is directly, and not indirectly, engaged in interstate commerce.
Interstate transportation is not ended by the arrival of the train at the terminal. The breaking up of the train and moving the cars to the appropriate tracks for making up new trains for further destination or for unloading is as much a part of interstate transportation as the movement across the state line.
Where plaintiff's petition states a case under the state statute, but on the evidence it appears that the case is controlled by the federal statute, and the defendant has duly excepted, the state court is bound to take notice of the objection and dismiss if plaintiff is not entitled to recover under the federal statute.
The facts, which involve the construction of the Employers' Liability Act of 1908, and its effect on actions for personal injuries of employees brought in the state courts, are stated in the opinion.